Virginia Naturally News
News you can use!
Summer 2014
In This Issue
Celebrate Science Inside & Out
Green Schools National Conference
Chesapeake Bay Agreement
Virginia Outdoors Plan
Strategies for Water Security: Graduate Student Projects
Strategies for Water Security: Graduate Student Projects
Congratulations Fort Defiance High School
Professional Development
Celebrate Great Outdoors Month
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Welcome New Partners!

Celebrate Science Inside & Out 
This is the annual conference for environmental educators, science teachers, nature lovers and all who are interested in learning about Virginia's environment.
Registration is open for the fall science and environmental education conference Oct. 16 - 18 at the Richmond Convention Center. The Virginia Office of Environmental Education (VOEE) and the Virginia Resource-Use Education Council (VRUEC) are collaborating with the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) to host this event. Discounts are available by registering or updating your organization's Virginia Naturally information. A Virginia Naturally partner is an organization that has an environmental education component as part of its mission. If you are a single environmental education provider and do not have an organization to register, you may choose to register yourself on Virginia Naturally as a subscriber. Once you add or update your information on Virginia Naturally, you qualify to register as part of the Virginia Office of Environmental Education (which houses Virginia Naturally). To learn more about Virginia Naturally, visit the homepage. Go to the Virginia Naturally conference page to follow information and updates about the conference. You may also go to the NSTA website to register and make arrangements for lodging.
Green Schools National Conference
The Green Schools National Conference for 2015 will be in Virginia Beach March 3 - 7. The deadline to submit a proposal is June 30. There is a need for proposal reviewers. Registration for this conference is also open.

Other Upcoming Conferences:
Virginia Master Naturalist conference - Sept. 26 - 28, Newport News. 

Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) conference - Nov. 20 - 22, Roanoke.
Just Signed - The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement

The Chesapeake Executive Council signed the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement on June 16, recommitting Chesapeake Bay Program partners to restoring, conserving and protecting the Bay, its tributaries and the lands around them. The agreement contains 10 goals and 29 measurable, time-bound outcomes that will help create a healthy watershed. They will lower nutrient and sediment pollution; ensure our waters are free of toxic contaminants; sustain blue crabs, oysters and forage fish; restore wetlands, underwater grass beds and other habitats; conserve farmland and forests; boost public access to and education about the environment; and increase the climate resiliency of the watershed's resources, habitats and human communities.    

Virginia Outdoors Plan
DCR recently updated the Virginia Outdoors Plan (VOP). The VOP is the state's comprehensive plan for land conservation, outdoor recreation and open-space planning.
Strategies for Water Security: Graduate Student Projects

As part of their graduate studies in the Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program at Virginia Tech's Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, professionals from business, government, and civil society recently formed consultancy teams to propose strategies for promoting source water protection in the Potomac Watershed. Their goal was to keep our rivers and aquifers full, water clean and natural infrastructure functioning. Descriptions of their projects with links to their reports are available online.
Each year, approximately 30 professionals from throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed and beyond are selected to participate in the Executive Master of Natural Resources graduate degree program for full-time working professionals. As part of the program, students work in interdisciplinary teams on a series of collaborative projects focused on sustainable development in complex systems such as the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As students progress through the program they engage in increasingly challenging projects that culminate in consulting opportunities in places like the Mekong and Amazon River basins.
Virginia Tech is currently accepting applications from the next group of professionals that will begin the XMNR program in January 2015. For more information, visit the website

Attention Life Science Teachers

Biologists at the University of Virginia are working to create high-quality professional development opportunities for K-12 life science teachers. Specifically, U.Va. biologists are interested in fostering collaboration between teacher and scientist to improve the quality of hands-on experimentation in the classroom. They are currently conducting a needs assessment survey  with life science teachers of all levels and would appreciate your input through this 5-10 minute survey. Please share with other teachers in your networks!      

Congratulations Fort Defiance High School Envirothon Team 
Augusta County's Fort Defiance High School placed first overall in Virginia's 2014 Dominion Envirothon State Competition, held at Sweet Briar College May 18-19. Fort Defiance competed with 16 teams representing high schools throughout Virginia to earn the title of State Champions.
Fort Defiance will travel to Chicago in August to represent Virginia as they compete at the national level against teams from across the United States for a chance to earn thousands of dollars in scholarship prizes.
"The Envirothon often becomes a lifestyle for students and goes beyond competitions and school meetings. It encourages students to be actively engaged in the environment around them at all times, whether through current issues in their hometown, statewide environmental disasters, or just an appreciation for the wildlife and trees in their own backyard," said Beth Sokolik, Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Education & Training Coordinator. "Students leave this program as responsible citizens and stewards of the environment and the world needs more people like them."
Envirothon consists of five "in-the-field" test stations soils, wildlife, aquatics, forestry and a current environmental issue where teams answer questions in both written and hands-on formats. During an oral presentation, teams brief their solution to the current environmental issue before industry and natural resource professionals who serve as judges. The environmental issue for this year is 'Sustainable Local Agriculture-Locally Grown.'
A $50,000 annual grant has made Dominion Resources the primary state sponsor for the program throughout Virginia. The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources (NYSE:D), the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power. Envirothon is run by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) and Virginia's 47 Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
For more information about Envirothon and how you can become involved, click here.
Professional Development 
Augmenting Science and Special Educator Teams (ASSET) - June 23 - 27 
The Virginia Department of Education's Office of Science and Health Education and Office of Special Education Instructional Services, in partnership with James Madison University, will sponsor a collaborative science-inclusion special education institute. The institute is for middle and high school science and special educator co-teaching teams working in the disciplines of physical science, Earth science and biology. 
To get additional information about this and other environmental education programs, visit the Virginia Naturally calendar of events. Other professional development opportunities are listed on the Virginia Naturally professional development page.

Celebrate Great Outdoors Month
June is celebrated as Great Outdoors Month. The Virginia Tourism Corporation has a webpage that gives ideas on how to get outside to celebrate this month.
The Great American Backyard Camp Out is June 28 and Virginia State Parks is ready to celebrate. Check out their webpage for special activities planned for this day.

Sheila Mary Barnett
Environmental Educator  

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
600 E. Main St., 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: (804) 786-1815
Fax: (804) 371-2072